Vincent Dowling

Vincent Dowling
Born Vincent Gerard Dowling
7 September 1929
Dublin, Ireland
Died 9 May 2013(2013-05-09) (aged 83)
Boston, Massachusetts
Occupation actor, director
Years active 1950–2013
Spouse(s) Brenda Doyle;
Olwen O'Herlihy

Vincent Gerard Dowling (7 September 1929 – 9 May 2013)[1] was an Irish actor and director.

He was married to the late Irish actress, Brenda Doyle (who died in a car crash in 1981). He was the father of actress Bairbre Dowling, and for a time was the father-in-law of Irish actor, Colm Meaney. In May 2013, the politician and TD, Richard Boyd Barrett, revealed that Dowling was his biological father, as a result of a relationship with actress Sinéad Cusack in 1967.[2]

Dowling first came to prominence in Ireland in the 1950s for his role as Christy Kennedy in the long-running radio soap opera, The Kennedys of Castleross and as a member of the Abbey Theatre company. He served as Artistic and Producing Director of The Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival (now the Great Lakes Theater Festival) in Cleveland, Ohio from 1976 to 1984.[3] During his tenure at GLSF, he directed, produced and acted in many classical works, by Shakespeare and others.[3] He is credited with discovering award-winning actor Tom Hanks.[3]

Dowling founded the Miniature Theatre of Chester (now the Chester Theatre Company), in Chester, Massachusetts, in 1990.[4]

Dowling received an Emmy for producing and directing the PBS film The Playboy of the Western World, based on John Millington Synge's 1907 play of the same name.[5]

Dowling was the J. Garber Drushal Distinguished Visiting Professor at The College of Wooster, in Wooster, Ohio, during the 1985-86 academic year.

Dowling's first autobiographical book is Astride the Moon: A Theatrical Life, ISBN 0-86327-828-0 (Wolfhound Press, 2000).

He resided in Massachusetts with his second wife, Olwen O'Herlihy, until his death.

Dowling's papers, from 1976 onward, are housed at the Kent State University and John Carroll University libraries.[6]

Selected filmography

See also

Great Lakes Theater Festival


  1. "Vincent Dowling, Irish director and actor who led Great Lakes Theater Festival, dies at 83". The Plain Dealer. May 11, 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-12.
  2. Sunday Independent - "Dowling was my father, his death saddens me". Retrieved 12/05/2013.
  3. 1 2 3 Vincent Dowling, Curriculum Vitae: Summary
  4. Chester Theatre Company, History
  5. Matas, Kathy (2006-03-27). "Dowling Guest Speaker for Spotlight Series, Director of The Winter's Tale". EInside. Kent State University. Retrieved 2010-09-30.
  6. Vincent Dowling, Papers, 1976-[ongoing], at Kent State University
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